California’s Recently Uncovered Serial Killer

Serial killers are creatures of habit. It’s part of what often keeps them undetected for years. That same habit, often turns into a pattern, and patterns are a serial killer hunter’s best friend.

Patterns helped to unmask the Golden State KiIler, Joseph DeAngelo, Jr,  and the Toolbox Killers, Bittiker and Norris. These killers sought specific targets, victims who appealed to their darkest tastes. In the case of DeAngelo, his habits included, initially, preying upon single women, before graduating to couples in their homes. There is some evidence to suggest that he watched the victims before he committed his crimes, typically had an escape route available, and used the same methods of binding the victims. He’d balance plates on the husband’s back, with a threat that he’d kill the woman if he heard the plates fall. Norris and Bittiker drove their murder van around southern California and sought out young, vulnerable women.

Recently, detectives in Yolo County were alerted to a potential serial killer and a gruesome pattern came to the surface.

In March of 2007, a fisherman with a bow and arrow was on the banks of a slough between County Road 22 and Interstate 5 east of Woodland. The angler missed his target, but the arrow hit something solid and stuck. When he pulled it up, he discovered it was a metal ice chest, held down by weights. When he opened his find, he discovered a tiny body, badly decomposed, along with a diaper. The infant was bundled in a Winnie the Pooh blanket smeared with dirt, and wrapped in plastic, according to a 2007 Yolo County Sheriff’s Office coroner’s report. The baby’s skull appeared fractured, according to the report. The remains were consistent with a 1-month-old boy. Even at that tender age, the autopsy reveled several fractures in the process of healing.

The case was widely publicized, but soon went cold.

Now, thirteen years after that grizzly discovery, authorities revealed that the baby’s father, Paul Allen Perez, has been charged with his murder. But what police at first thought was “a single unsolved homicide has become something much more,” Yolo County Sheriff Tom Lopez revealed. DNA collected from the child’s body was compared with the state’s criminal DNA database, CODIS, and hit on Perez from a DNA sample collected while serving a prison term for a sex assault.

Perez, a 57-year-old convicted sex offender, is accused of killing five infants he fathered between 1992 and 2001, while somehow escaping detection for years as the babies disappeared, police said. All of the infants are thought to have been younger than 6 months old. The dead child pulled from the river was identified as Nikko Lee Perez. He was born in Fresno, Calif., on Nov. 8, 1996. Investigators found Perez also fathered Kato Allen Perez in 1992 in Merced, Calif. Three years later, also in Merced, came Mika Alena Perez, and then there was Nikko in 1996. Perez fathered another infant named Nikko Lee Perez in Fresno in 1997, and then Kato Krow Perez, born in Fresno in 2001.

Investigators have since discovered the remains of a second baby, Kato Allen Perez, but would not disclose where or how he was found. The remains of the three other infants have not been found, Lopez said.

Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig said that the five counts of premeditated murder against Perez are enhanced with special circumstances of lying in wait and torture of multiple victims, but he would not elaborate on the torture allegations. Perez also faces charges of assault on a child younger than 8.

The investigation and legal proceedings on this case are ongoing. California has a new serial killer.

Paul Perez, left, of Delano, is arraigned on five counts of murder in the slayings of his newborn children, at Yolo Superior Court in Woodland on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020.

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